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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Asashoryu, Hakuho retain share of lead

The Associated Press

Mongolian Hakuho took another step toward promotion to yokozuna on Friday with a win over compatriot Ama at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.

After being shoved back at the faceoff, ozeki Hakuho used a series of slaps to the head to take control of the bout and then shoved the smaller sekiwake out to improve to a perfect 6-0.

Ama, who has never defeated Hakuho, dropped to an even 3-3 record in the 15-day meet at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Hakuho won the Spring tourney in March and another Emperor's Cup in this meet would ensure that sumo has two grand champions for the first time since 2003.

Mongolian Asashoryu, the lone yokozuna, swatted down winless No. 3 maegashira Kakizoe in the day's final bout to stay in the group of seven wrestlers who stand at 6-0.

Asashoryu is bidding for his 21st Emperor's Cup and has looked impressive over the first half of the tournament.

In other major bouts, ozeki Chiyotaikai stood Aminishiki up at the faceoff with an arm thrust and then hauled the fourth-ranked maegashira down to improve to 6-0. Aminishiki dropped to 4-2.

Ozeki Kaio kept pace when he got Tamanoshima in an armlock and threw the No. 2 maegashira into the first row of seats to improve to 6-0.

Tamanoshima, who was slow in getting up, dropped to 1-5.

In an all-European showdown, Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu was shoved back at the faceoff but got a grip of Kokkai's belt and overpowered the Georgian-born No. 2 maegashira to improve to 5-1. Kokkai has yet to post a win.

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